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Operating Systems (OS) for Business
July 2022
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Technician / Network & Systems Administrator, ITAS Program at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Versatile, highly-stable, and the best-supported one by the community
Pros and Cons
  • "I like the fact that I can make it very secure with my own knowledge, which makes it different from Windows that does things in the background by magic, and you hope that it's secure. I like the availability of starting with Linux with totally minimal permissions for anybody and then increasing it on an as-needed basis. This is probably the most important to me."
  • "The biggest improvement, which is also applicable to Linux in general, with Ubuntu Linux is getting things standardized as to where you're going to put your configuration files and how they're going to work. Package names also need to be improved so that the package name doesn't have any match with configuration file systems and things like that. Ubuntu is still better than some of the others, such as Red Hat Linux or CentOS."

What is our primary use case?

It is mainly a LAMP server with Apache, MySQL, PHP, and other things for the students to do their web development stuff. It's all done up with LDAP capabilities of getting into it. The web server side is open to the internet, so they can sit at home, VPN in, and do all their work. They can actually see what the public-facing side ends up looking like. Then we've got our main learning management system because we do our own self-hosted Moodle instance kind of thing. It's all running on a Linux server and doing well. Our DNS servers and things like that are all separate. Two of them are internet-facing, and one of them is internal.

I am very close to its latest version. I try and stick to using the long-term release versions, like every second year when they release the new long-term release one. So, I have some servers that are actually on 20.04, but I've got a web server at home that's on 16.04. I've got Nextcloud and things like that on that server, so I'm afraid to do a full load upgrade on it because I don't want to break anything. That's why I wish I had it set up as a virtual machine that I could take a snapshot of and blow it up and go, "Oh, okay. I'll revert." We can't do that with the hardware box.

In terms of its deployment, at work, I do everything on-premises in VMware vSphere itself. I work with the IT program at the university. It is an Applied Systems one, so it is a two-year diploma program. I've got a whole bunch of different servers set up for them, and it is a mix. Our domain itself is with Active Directory, and everything is Windows, and then just about everything else is running on Linux servers. Our VPN is also Windows because it makes it simpler for users to connect easily. You don't have to download keys and install them and then be able to talk to OpenVPN properly.

What is most valuable?

I like the fact that I can make it very secure with my own knowledge, which makes it different from Windows that does things in the background by magic, and you hope that it's secure. I like the availability of starting with Linux with totally minimal permissions for anybody and then increasing it on an as-needed basis. This is probably the most important to me. That's where I also love CentOS for Linux because you do a minimal install, and then there is a whole bunch of stuff you can't do without installing packages, which is quite nice in some ways and painful in other ways.

I like the versatility of it. When I first started here, which was like eight years ago, we were running some stuff as virtual machines inside a Linux host instead of doing it with VMware. Then we finally got VMware licensing, but before that, we were doing some virtual machines within Linux itself, and it was working quite well.

What needs improvement?

The biggest improvement, which is also applicable to Linux in general, with Ubuntu Linux is getting things standardized as to where you're going to put your configuration files and how they're going to work. Package names also need to be improved so that the package name doesn't have any match with configuration file systems and things like that. Ubuntu is still better than some of the others, such as Red Hat Linux or CentOS. For example, in your named server, the package itself will be BIND 9, but then the configuration files are in etc/named, and the service is called named. Why isn't the package name matching up? Little things like that prevent it from getting more mainstream use from everyday users. They should standardize things between different distributions and even inside the single distributions. You can't expect people to adopt it as your desktop system if you do weird things. It is great for us Linux nerds, and we can deal with it, but you can't expect your general public to just be able to jump in and say, "Oh, it's like this here, but it's not like it there."

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for probably 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is great. You turn it on, and it runs. I do have a couple of these that do automatic updates for the important stuff. I just get an email telling me that this is being updated so that I can check and make sure everything is okay, which is always the case, but it is worth checking anyway. You can back out of the updates fairly easily, unlike Windows that magically does things. I don't mind that in general, but you never really know what it is doing. It just says, "Oh, here are your updates. You've got these six things." You can't pick just one to update. You've just got to say, "Yeah, go ahead and update," and then hope it doesn't blow up in the meantime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've never really scaled things up much. Usually, I pick a system and make it a certain size and availability. I've done it with virtual machines where I've increased drive space and things, but I've never really done the scalability side to where it can boost up another server to take a load off. I'd love to try it, but I've never had a situation where I really needed it.

In general, we have probably about 50 users at a time. It is not a huge number, but in terms of usage, it is extensively used. Ubuntu is just about everything other than the basic Windows domain stuff. Domain controllers and VPN are all we've got on Windows currently. 

Our situation right now is just right. I've got Jitsi Meet, which is a video conferencing type server, and I might increase capabilities there. In general, I don't think we're really going to expand much, but you never know in this day and age how much things change in IT. At one time, we were doing OpenStack ourselves, and I told people, "Yeah, we're competing with Amazon Web Services, but only at this little level." Finally, it got changed out anyway because they kept changing it so much.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never dealt with their tech support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I personally used CentOS Linux quite a bit during most of our learning years in the IT program. Red Hat was kind of your big standard out there at the time. When I came into this job, because there were only a few things, what we had was really just Ubuntu Server. As we did bigger upgrades, I eventually started changing them and replaced the CentOS ones with Ubuntu ones just to standardize. They were kind of bouncing around at the time, and I don't like bouncing around too much.

I'm just about to do a project and try and switch that over to Windows. There is some stuff that I like with the Linux one, but I'd much rather manage it in Windows because it is much easier where you just say, "Add this host," and it's done. It is magic. It happens and updates everything and stuff. I don't have to go and remember to change the serial number. My biggest problem is that I'll make changes and save them, but nothing happens, and I go, "Why?"

How was the initial setup?

The installation is very straightforward for the desktop and the server. It comes up with that nice setup. I love the fact that you can take it off a USB stick as a live distribution, and then do your install and actually click the stuff that you would like it to install automatically, or you can wait until it's done as long as you know what you want to install. I do find it quite good.

For its maintenance, one person is required. I do it all. It's funny when we get our IT section to come down and give a briefing on how our whole IT department for the university works, and they talk about server group, networking group, project management group, etc. When they're finished, I go to the students, and I say, "So for the ITAS program itself, see all that on the board? That's me."

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is 100% free.

What other advice do I have?

I love using it. I'm strictly on the server-side. I've got a laptop with Ubuntu Desktop on it because we teach it here, so I might as well make sure I'm still playing with that a little bit once in a while, but I'm mainly on the server-side.

It is the best-supported one by the community. I still recommend it to anybody who asks me, "What should I do here?" It's nothing about our current CentOS turning into rolling releases, which has 14 million people in an uproar because they think, "Well, it has always been so stable without rolling releases. Why would you change it?" That doesn't bother me at all. I just look at that community being out there, whether it's Stack Overflow, Ubuntu forums or web pages, etc. There is just 10 times more information available for Ubuntu, which sometimes is harder to filter through. You'll get somebody's answer, but it's from a five-year-old distribution that isn't supported anymore, and it doesn't work that way anymore, but I do think the community itself is great.

I'm going to give Ubuntu Server a 10 out of 10 because it is so stable. I never had any issues with it in terms of stability. Even when I've done big upgrades where you got lots of stuff on an individual server and lots of different things going on, and you say, "Okay, do this distribution upgrade because it should be stable," it always works out. I've got one at home that I'm kind of scared to upgrade. I don't think I'll have a problem with it, but I'm kind of scared to do it anyway, just in case.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RicardoURQUIDI - PeerSpot reviewer
CEO at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
Saves time, supports many integrations, and is easy to set up and configure
Pros and Cons
  • "Its scalability and ease of setup and configuration are most valuable. When we have a hardware failure, we just save the configuration files, and in about half an hour, we have another server running with the same configuration. It is really easy to replace servers. This is the best feature."
  • "I would like training to be added to the subscription. It would be useful for when you have to train yourself or get a certification. There are many things that we are not using because we don't know how to use them. Having training included in the subscription would help us in learning more things and utilizing the full power of the solution."

What is our primary use case?

We are primarily using it for services, such as cloud infrastructure services, for our business. We are working with a Town Council in Bolivia. We provide the environment for deployed applications, and we are using it for the private cloud, Linux server, and applications developed within the company.

Mostly, we use version 7.0. We also have three servers with version 8.5. We are working with everything on-premise. We have a cloud, but most of the cloud is accessible from inside the company. It is not accessible from outside of the company.

How has it helped my organization?

Red Hat at present is the core, and we are also using Ansible, Horizon, OpenShift, and Kubernetes in our environment. They are a part of our environment. It is the best in terms of integration, and it is totally integrated with other solutions. With these integrations, all other solutions become a part of one big solution, which saves time. You can achieve the same results by building things from scratch with open source, but it would be very time-consuming. Deployments become easy and fast because everything is integrated. It is very good to have everything integrated, and we now have just two people working with the whole infrastructure. 

It has accelerated deployment. We are using OpenShift, and it is very easy to deploy new machines on our infrastructure. Like Ansible, we can deploy many machines with the same configuration or automatic configuration. It is really fast. 

With Ansible, we can easily create environments. Comparing the infrastructure that we had while using Windows 2012 with the tools that we now have with Red Hat, we have saved 80% of the time. Everything is automated with Ansible. We only check playbooks. It has accelerated the deployment of applications. Automation saves time and allows us to allocate people to other work. Previously, it was very time-consuming to create environments. We had to train people. We had to create maybe three or four virtual machines for load balancing according to the needs of the client, whereas now, OpenShift is creating them automatically and destroying them when they are no longer needed. It saves a lot of our time. People are doing more technical work. In the past, we had five people to work with the infrastructure, and now, we have only two people. Three people have been moved to another department.

We can run multiple versions of applications for deployment. OpenShift has Kubernetes inside. So, you can run one version, and immediately, you can deploy the next version and do a test of two versions. We test new solutions or patches in an application, and we run both versions at the same time just to have a benchmark and prove that some issues have been fixed. With Kubernetes, it is easy for us.

What is most valuable?

Its scalability and ease of setup and configuration are most valuable. When we have a hardware failure, we just save the configuration files, and in about half an hour, we have another server running with the same configuration. It is really easy to replace servers. This is the best feature.

It has very good integrations. The IPA feature is really awesome. We used this feature to integrate with Active Directory. Red Hat has many tools for integrations.

What needs improvement?

I would like training to be added to the subscription. It would be useful for when you have to train yourself or get a certification. There are many things that we are not using because we don't know how to use them. Having training included in the subscription would help us in learning more things and utilizing the full power of the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since 2000. I have been using Red Hat before it became Enterprise, but in our company, we adopted Red Hat about two years ago. We still have a few servers on Windows Server 2019, but most of our servers are on Red Hat.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very reliable. We didn't have any issues with services.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is good. We can work with the same server and make it a load balancer. It is really easy. In one hour or one and a half hours, we can have another server working, and we can put it in the cluster. It is really easy.

How are customer service and support?

We contacted them only twice, and we received good support from them. I would rate them a nine out of 10. The only thing that is missing is the training. If they can include training in the subscription, it would be awesome.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We mostly had Microsoft solutions, and we were using Windows 2012, and we had some issues with it. Working with Windows was really painful for us as administrators. For users, there was no issue. The servers were always working. We switched to Red Hat because it had the biggest offering. It is an enterprise solution, and it gives you all the things. With others, you have to do things on your own. It is a complete solution.

When we migrated from Windows 2012 to Red Hat, it was a game-changer. In the beginning, we were working with IIS for deploying applications. Most of the applications were developed in the company, and some of them were not PHP-native.

We also have four servers using Debian Linux, and we have another software that is open-source and built from scratch. It is like Red Hat, but you need to do most of the things from scratch. We're using Docker instead of Kubernetes for everything related to quality assurance for our developers.

How was the initial setup?

It was complex at the beginning because we only knew the basics. We didn't know the purpose of many of the tools and how to implement them. We started training ourselves. It took us two years to implement or to make this change.

We first installed it on a few of our servers, but then we started working with OpenShift. We have a private cloud in our infrastructure, and it is me and one colleague doing this job.

What was our ROI?

We haven't measured it, but we would have got an ROI. It is doing many things for us, and it must be providing a big return on investment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you don't buy the Red Hat subscription, you don't get technical support, and you don't have all the updates. 

To have everything working like a charm, the cost that you pay for it is worth it. In Bolivia, we don't have the best internet connection. Therefore, we have a local service with all the packages, repositories, etc. We manage them locally, and because we have a subscription, we can update them. So, we have local repositories with all the packages and other things to make it easy for us to update all the servers. Without the Red Hat subscription, we cannot update anything.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were thinking of SUSE because it also has enterprise solutions. We decided on Red Hat because of OpenShift. This was the key thing for us. 

Red Hats' open-source approach was also a factor while choosing the solution because there is a law in Bolivia that is forcing all public institutions to migrate to open source. By 2023, all public institutions must run on open-source solutions.

What other advice do I have?

You cannot compare it with anything that is in the market because there is nothing that does the same. Amazon is doing something similar, but it is still a different service. Everything that they give us surprises us and changes the way we are doing things.

It hasn't simplified adoption for non-Linux users because we have mostly deployed servers, and they are not visible to the users. Users are just using the applications, and they don't know what is going on in the background. They don't know if they are using Linux or something else. They are using Windows on the client, but on servers, they don't know what is running.

We aren't using bare metal for servers. Everything is virtualized and working just fine. We have VMware, OpenShift, etc. Everything is deployed on our own cloud, and everything is on our server.

We use the dashboard of OpenShift to monitor the whole infrastructure, but we also have two solutions that are not by Red Hat. One is Zabbix, and the other one is Pandora. Both of them are open source. The dashboard of OpenShift doesn't significantly affect the performance of existing applications, but it is helpful because it can send triggers. It has triggers to send alerts and things like that. It is not really resource-consuming. It is really good.

I would rate Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) a 10 out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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CEO at a computer software company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5
Powerful with high availability and very stable
Pros and Cons
  • "Oracle Solaris is great due to the fact that it actually is meant for high-end servers."
  • "Currently, there are two variants, there's SPARC and there's x86. I would have wanted a scenario where they're all just one product."

What is our primary use case?

Clients mainly use the solution as a database operating system in many environments. Most who are using it are financial institutions, telecoms, or companies in the energy sector. 

What is most valuable?

Of late the most valuable feature is virtualization. They have attained virtualization and it's quite simple to create the Oracle Solaris zones.

The solution is quite powerful.

Oracle Solaris is great due to the fact that it actually is meant for high-end servers. 

The high availability is great. You can clone and you can do quite a number of things with them. There's also the ZFS File system which is very good. Is one of the best file systems that there is.

What needs improvement?

Most of the product is still command-line, despite the fact that they've got a graphical user interface in some areas. For some reason, core administration is still done via command-line.

The manufacturer can put most of those command-line environments into classical use like other operating systems. With Solaris the administration part is through command-line which may be difficult for some people who may not be used to that way of working.

Currently, there are two variants, there's SPARC and there's x86. I would have wanted a scenario where they're all just one product.

I would have loved if the clustering data was a bit simpler. Currently, the clustering data is a product on its own. It would be great if there was higher availability data with that.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been an Oracle Solaris consultant for over 20 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is the most stable operating system compared to other operating systems that I know. If you look at it, it's rarely attacked by viruses and it rarely fails due to its reliable hardware. SPARC is normally very stable.

It rarely fails. Even if it fails, it gives you a lot of warnings in the logs. The log warnings are very clear. If you follow along you really get to the crux of the matter. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When it comes to scalability, it's even more scalable than other competitors given the fact that it's a high-end operating system.

It ranges from one single processor to over a hundred cores. It's a very scalable operating system. I'd say it's more scalable than any Linux and Windows environment - in vertical scaling, that is. The SPARC servers are extremely powerful. You can put a very huge database on it or even a very big application.

How are customer service and technical support?

Oracle support is good. The only this is that it is expensive. At the end of the day, if you are on Oracle support you are sorted out quickly. They are very responsive and knowledgable. If you are not on Oracle support you have to support it yourself and figure out what the issues are without their assistance.

With Oracle, everything is together and it comes nearly with all the patches and it's really great. If you put it on Oracle hardware, everything is there and it still works with Oracle. Once it's in installed the only issues that may arise are performance issues, and that may be a configuration problem on your end. 

At the end of the day, Oracle support will support you, and they will sort you out. They normally release patches on a regular basis. It used to be a monthly basis, however, I think now it's a quarterly basis. Those patches can help you if there's a new hardware release, which is not on your old Solaris environment.

How was the initial setup?

In the latest versions, the initial setup is not very complex. Solaris is normally of two variants. There is the SPARC variant and there is the Intel variant. 

With the implementation, the steps and procedures are very clear. You just install more if you're installing in SPARC or if you're installing it on an Oracle hardware.

It's very easy to install due to the fact that all the patches are there, unlike other products where you have to put apart from this other side of all these. With this solution, everything is there, so it's very straightforward. The implementation is very, very straightforward, and simple by the way.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is a free product. It doesn't cost anything. What you can purchase is support. 

If you buy Oracle hardware it's supported free with the hardware. If you're putting it on non-Oracle hardware, that is when you buy the support license, which is also very reasonable. It is $1000 dollars per year, so it's not overly expensive. 

If you compare what it can do with how much Oracle charges for support, it's more or less free.

What other advice do I have?

In our company, we don't use Oracle Solaris. As a person, I was employed as a Solaris System Administrator. I'm just a consultant. We don't use Oracle Solaris, because we're not big enough to use the solution ourselves. 

Overall, I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

I would highly recommend Oracle Solaris. It's a stable operating system and it's been around for a long time. If you're planning to have an Oracle Database, the best operating system for the Oracle Database is Oracle Solaris.

If anybody is implementing a new solution or a new environment and thinks of putting in Oracle Database, the first option would be Oracle Solaris, then they can look at other OSs like Windows and Linux.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
Jeizer Marinho - PeerSpot reviewer
Team Leader at a recruiting/HR firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Stable, easy and quick to install, good enterprise support but the Windows support needs improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "As a Microsoft Tester, I like enabling the Microsoft Hyper-V and running the Virtual Machines for testing purposes."
  • "If Microsoft could find a way to better manage updates and patches, that could be more useful for end users, which would be good."

What is most valuable?

As a Microsoft Tester, I like enabling the Microsoft Hyper-V and running the Virtual Machines for testing purposes.

I like Windows products.

What needs improvement?

Some time ago we had Windows Forms, but it did not perform well enough and Microsoft ended up terminating that area of the business.

I believe that it would be beneficial to introduce Windows Forms back into the solution to have a better experience transitioning from a desktop to a mobile version.

Currently, we are experiencing a lot of activities from hackers. People trying to break into the networks to access our data. This is an issue that is causing concern. I don't see a way of making it better or different. This became a large business for hackers. 

It would be great to have a more secure interface, especially in a business environment of critical content. For example, our company has a very high level of governance and security procedures.

There are many updates on a monthly basis. I understand that is how Microsoft helps their customers to manage and be secure with regard to Cyberattacks that we may experience. From a user's perspective, it's not a good experience. From an IT perspective, I know how important those things are.

It should be something that runs more in the background where it is not seen and has less of an impact than they usually have.

When we roll out any Microsoft patch across the Network which is done every Thursday, it had not seen a few computers having issues. That's bringing us X amount of work because we need to remediate the user's issue and all those things.

If Microsoft could find a way to better manage updates and patches, that could be more useful for end users, which would be good.

From an IT perspective, I would like something similar to Splunk where it has some type of visibility, or provide the user with power, or something that we could enable. For example, if we were attacked, we could enable something or download something as a part of the Microsoft portfolio to provide us with more visibility about the threat that is floating around.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Windows 10 since it's been on the market.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

My opinion is that Windows 10 is very stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had many opportunities to contact technical support but have a few times.

My last contact with them was regarding server versions, which involved Exchange 2013, and few other things, and also about Windows 10 support.

My experience with enterprise support was good and we didn't have any issues, but specifically with Windows 10, it's wasn't a good experience.

Microsoft should have the same level of service. I was expecting more from Microsoft.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are also working with all Microsoft operational systems, from Windows 10 to Windows Servers, Active Directory, and Office 365.

How was the initial setup?

I have worked with Windows since Windows 95 and it has changed a lot. It is very quick to deploy.

It is different when you analyze things and think in a more technical way, but even a non-technical person could install Windows from scratch with no issues.

What other advice do I have?

I am currently studying for Microsoft Administrator, but I don't have hands-on experience with Key Vault.

I would recommend Windows 10 to others who are interested in using it.

The Microsoft portfolio is quite large. It is difficult to think of what Microsoft hasn't already developed so far.

I would rate Windows 10 a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
System Engineer at CMC CSI saigon
Real User
Top 10
We get good support, and our apps run much faster on this

What is our primary use case?

We use it for the DNS server, and we have some in-house apps that we are running on it for internal processes.

What is most valuable?

Its performance is most valuable. There is a performance boost as compared to when the applications are run on Windows OS.

What needs improvement?

It could be more secure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for a few months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. In the previous upgrade, there were a lot of bug fixes.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have cluster nodes, so we can extend and have more servers in the cluster. When we have more incoming requests and more processes for extending functions of the software, we need to scale the server. We work with the vendor for maintaining the software and the server.

We have more than 300 users, and half of them are using the software.

How are customer service and support?

Their support is good.

How was the initial setup?

It took two to three days. We did it over the weekend, and we had two technical people.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others. I would rate it an eight out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Buyer's Guide
Operating Systems (OS) for Business
July 2022
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